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Volume 2, No.1 

April, 2012

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Editorial

Welcome to this, our third, issue of Research in Secondary Teacher Education. The periodical continues to grow in terms of readership. Since the launch of the last issue we have been working hard to develop the profile of the online version of the periodical. Subject associations and professional networks are beginning to take notice and show a keen interest in our publication. The journal can now be found linked to the Teacher Education Advancement Network (TEAN) website, and others are looking carefully, and favourably, into hosting a link to future editions too. Journal authors, articles and book reviews are fully searchable through both Google and Google Scholar; and those who like to be kept automatically up to date with latest issues and articles can track this through an RSS feed.

Policy ‘busyness’ characterises this intense period of uncertainty and change experienced by schools and teacher education institutions in England. New leadership of Ofqual and Ofsted, the intensity and speed of academisation, the revision of league tables, structural reform of the school system and what initially appears to be the indiscriminate transformation of teacher education are hardly ideal circumstances in which to nurture those entering the teaching profession. Only time will tell how this new educational environment will affect the quality of teacher education experienced by future cohorts of trainee teachers. With the predicted decrease in numbers of pupils attending secondary schools it is likely, in this political climate, that teacher education will be driven more and more into schools, with inevitable consequences for Schools of Education. It does not seem that long ago that Ofsted announced that we had the ‘best generation of teachers ever’. It is perhaps worth reflecting that it is those same teachers, the ones currently responsible for much of the school-based training that already takes place, who received their training at the hands of successful university/school partnerships. The words ‘baby’ and ‘bathwater’ immediately spring to mind if we sacrifice the roles that universities play in the education, training and research-informed practice responsible for that successful generation of teachers.

We begin this third issue with an article by Warren Kidd exploring the ambiguities and ontological insecurities of pre-service trainee teachers as they prepare to enter training for work. Warren examines the anxieties of trainee teachers as they begin to boundary-shift professional identities at the very start of a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) programme. David Wells considers, in his article, the relative virtues of ICT and/or computing in schools and presents findings from research conducted on PGCE and Graduate Teacher Programme (GT) ICT students and their teacher colleagues. His research aimed to discover what subject knowledge capacity east London ICT teacher contemporaries had to develop to deliver a more computing-based curriculum; and thus perhaps move their pupils beyond a more traditional ICT curriculum. Gerry Czerniawski examines research on a case study of Student Voice brought about through collaboration between a secondary school (for pupils aged 11–16) and a university located in a large conurbation in southern England. While the original focus of this longitudinal study was to look at students as informants/respondents and their journey in becoming student researchers, this article examines the impact on the values of six pupils after their visit to carry out research on a school in Finland. In an article considering how the design and technology curriculum in secondary schools addresses the issue of Global Dimensions, Kate Jones looks at how effectively the key concepts related to the Global Dimension are delivered and suggests ways of developing a more creative approach to meet the needs of a variety of learners. Finally, Tony Pye summarises, in his article, a key aspect of how children learn effectively and how this is (or is not) supported by teaching methodology. This summary is put into the context of some unpublished research carried out with another colleague some years ago and observations of secondary trainee mathematics teachers.

Our guest writer for this third issue is Stephen J. Ball, Karl Mannheim Professor of the Sociology of Education at the Institute of Education, University of London and Editor of the Journal of Education Policy. His work is in ‘policy sociology’ and he has conducted a series of Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)-funded studies which focus on issues of social class and policy. Recent books include Global Education Inc. (Routledge, 2012), How schools do policy (with Meg Maguire and Annette Braun) (Routledge, 2012), The education debate (Policy Press, 2008), Education Plc (Routledge, 2007) and, with Carol Vincent, Childcare choice and class practices (Routledge, 2005). He has an honorary doctorate from Turku University, is visiting professor at the University of San Andrés and is a Fellow of the British Academy. Drawing on his earlier work on performativity, Stephen in this article critically reflects on what it means today to be an academic in higher education.

This number’s book reviews from the secondary team are provided by Kate Jones and Tony Pye. Our guest book reviewer is John Wilks who is General Secretary of the London Association for the Teaching of English and an Examiner for the English Speaking Board. John was a Head of English in Tower Hamlets for over 22 years. He has worked as a tutor on PCET and PGCE English programmes at the University of East London (UEL) and London Metropolitan University.

As always we hope that you enjoy the collection of articles in this issue of the periodical. The next edition will be published under the new name of Research in Teacher Education. The success of the publication to date, coupled with significant changes taking place in teacher education, mean that we feel the time has come to draw on the wider expertise on offer from the Cass School of Education and Communities. In future editions we will draw on colleagues from within the primary, secondary and post-compulsory sectors of teacher education and continue to provoke, stimulate and extend discussions related to the training and education of teachers. It is with great pleasure then that we announce Professor Jim O’Brien as our guest writer for the next (October 2012) edition of RiTE. 

Keywords: Editorial

Cite as:
Gerry Czerniawski and David Wells (2012) ‘Editorial’ Research in Teacher Education, Vol 2(No.1), 1–2. Available at: www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research in Teacher Education/Volume 2 No 1 April 2012

Gerry Czerniawski and David Wells
University of East London
Pages 1-2

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Articles

Abstract

This article explores the ambiguities and ontological insecurities of pre-service trainee teachers as they prepare to enter training for work in the post-compulsory sector in the UK. Adopting a contextual sensitivity which explores the role of location in teachers’ professional learning, it makes problematic the anxieties and un-situated learning of trainees as they begin to boundary-shift professional identities at the very start of a PGCE programme. Contextualised by the hyper-rapid and intensified spatiality of teaching, learning and training in east London, the article explores the polycontexual realities of entering a newly drawn professional field in a global metropolis. Trainees’ identity formation and lived experiences are captured by means of a digital ethnographic approach. The adoption of student voice research – as a teaching and reflection tool – is tempered against trainee teachers’ own uncertain, (re)forming and emerging reflective voices captured through an ethnographic sensibility.

Keywords: student voice; identity; boundary crossing; reflection; location; digital ethnography

Cite as:
Warren Kidd (2012) ‘Place, (cyber) space and being: the role of student voice in informing the un-situated learning of trainee teachers’ Research in Teacher Education, Vol 2(1), 3–7. Available at: www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research in Teacher Education/Volume 2 No 1 April 2012

Warren Kidd
University of East London
Pages 3-7

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Abstract

This article aims to consider the relative virtues of ICT and/or computing in schools, and present the findings from some research conducted in April/May 2011, with Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) and Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP) ICT students and ICT teacher colleagues in a sample of the University of East London’s partner secondary schools (educating children from the ages of 11 to 16 and, if a sixth form exists, 11 to 18). The research was to discover what subject knowledge capacity east London ICT teacher contemporaries had to develop and deliver a more computing-based curriculum, and thus perhaps move their pupils beyond a more traditional ICT curriculum.

Keywords: computing; computer science; ICT; curriculum; east London

Cite as:
David Wells (2012) ‘Computing in Schools: Time to move beyond ICT?’ Research in Teacher Education, Vol 2(No.1), 8–13. Available at: www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research in Teacher Education/Volume 2 No 1 April 2012

David Wells
University of East London
Pages 8-13

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Abstract

This article examines research on a case study of student voice brought about through collaboration between a secondary school (for pupils aged 11–16) and a university located in a large conurbation in southern England. While the original focus of this longitudinal study was to look at students as informants/respondents and their journey in becoming student researchers, this article examines the impact on the values of six pupils after their research visit to a school in Finland.

Keywords: trust; student voice; accountability; policy technology

Cite as:
Gerry Czerniawski (2012) ‘Student Voice-by-numbers ’ Research in Teacher Education, Vol 2(No.1), 14–18. Available at: www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research in Teacher Education/Volume 2 No 1 April 2012

Gerry Czerniawski
University of East London
Pages 14-18

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Abstract

This paper will consider how the design and technology curriculum in secondary schools addresses the issue of Global Dimensions. I will draw on reading, personal experiences as a teacher of 28 years and on observations made in the last year of trainee teachers delivering the Global Dimension which I will refer to in the body of the paper. The article will look at how effectively the key concepts related to the Global Dimension are delivered and will suggest ways of developing a more creative approach to meet the needs of a variety of learners.

Keywords: global dimension; sustainability; curriculum dynamics, ethically defensible curriculum; diversity; commercial design practice

Cite as:
Kate Jones (2012) ‘Global Dimensions in Design and Technology – ‘Just another thing to think about’? ’ Research in Teacher Education, Vol 2(No.1), 19–23. Available at: www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research in Teacher Education/Volume 2 No 1 April 2012

Kate Jones
University of East London
Pages 19-23

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Abstract

In this article, I explore ideas from Jo Boaler’s recent (2009) book about children learning mathematics, some views of educationalists and academics and link these to my own observations. The article summarises a key aspect of how children learn effectively and how this is (or is not) supported by teaching methodology. This summary is put into the context of some unpublished research carried out with another colleague some years ago and observations of secondary trainee mathematics teachers. The article looks at the premise that children are encouraged to talk and the reasons why this might be effective in helping them understand concepts better by involving the input of their peers.

Keywords: pupils’ talk; reinforcing learning; more knowledgeable others (MKO); problem solving; teaching and learning

Cite as:
Tony Pye (2012) ‘Talking about Maths ’ Research in Teacher Education, Vol 2(No.1), 24–28. Available at: www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research in Teacher Education/Volume 2 No 1 April 2012

Tony Pye
University of East London
Pages 24-28

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Guest Author

Abstract

In every edition of RiTE we publish a contribution from a guest writer who has links with the Cass School of Education. Stephen J. Ball is Karl Mannheim Professor of the Sociology of Education at the Institute of Education, University of London and Editor of the Journal of Education Policy. His work is in ‘policy sociology’ and he has conducted a series of Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)-funded studies which focus on issues of social class and policy. Recent books include: Global Education Inc. (Routledge, 2012), How schools do policy (with Meg Maguire and Annette Braun) (Routledge, 2012), The education debate (Policy Press, 2008), Education Plc (Routledge, 2007) and Childcare choice and class practices (with Carol Vincent) (Routledge, 2005). He has an honorary doctorate from Turku University, is visiting professor at the University of San Andrés and is a Fellow of the British Academy. Drawing on his earlier work on performativity, Stephen in this article critically reflects on what it means today to be an academic in higher education.

Keywords: academic identities; performativity; policy technology.

Cite as:
Stephen J. Ball (2012) ‘The making of a neoliberal academic’ Research in Teacher Education, Vol 2(No.1), 29–31. Available at: www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research in Teacher Education/Volume 2 No 1 April 2012

Stephen J. Ball
Humanities and Social Science Institute of Education University of London
Pages 29–31

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Book Reviews

This fourth edition of Learning and teaching in secondary schools is the newest addition to the Achieving QTS series. It provides an up-to-date look at the challenges confronting trainee teachers within the framework of the Professional Standards for the Award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) that are currently in place. The book is clearly and logically structured into 15 chapters which, as stated in the introduction, have been created in consideration of changes which may be a reflection of how the coalition government appears to be developing the future of education in this country.
The text is organised into four parts devoted to the main themes that student teachers need to consider during their training: ‘Professional attributes and learning’, including a chapter on teaching as a master’s-level profession; ‘Professional skills’ with a useful chapter on Assessment for Learning; ‘Professional knowledge (across the curriculum)’ where 14–19 is considered; and ‘Professional knowledge (inclusion)’ with a highly readable chapter on special educational needs. Through these broad and encompassing sections, the contributors discuss teaching and learning alongside ‘practical’ concerns such as classroom management and assessment in schools.

The chapters all link to the 2007 QTS Standards; hence the introduction of the new standards in September 2012 means this book will probably be superseded by a new edition. Currently it assists students with an easy-to-follow guide to the current framework. I particularly liked the inclusion of reflective questions and tasks for the student teacher. An example of this is in the chapter relating to Assessment for Learning where student teachers are asked to draw on their own experiences in analysing student learning considering their own use of questioning, explaining and demonstrating and the impact they have had on the students’ learning. Reflective thinking and being reflective learners is a skill that can be difficult for new teachers to appreciate but is the basis of what makes a good or outstanding teacher. New teachers should be able to think about the how and why of their practice as it is a valuable tool that generates ideas and develops knowledge. This use of reflective tasks throughout the book is a real strength.

Each chapter is helpfully cross-referenced to specific QTS Standards. However, reading these Standards can be quite confusing, so the inclusion of a short précis at the start of every chapter that interprets their meaning in easily accessible language is a useful tool for the student teacher. Similarly, there are relevant practical tasks and case studies that serve to develop the links between theory and practice. The summary of key points at the end of each chapter provides particularly pertinent conclusions to reinforce the implications for practice for student teachers. The ‘Further reading’ sections and chapter glossaries provide a very thorough resource for student teachers who want to be effective classroom practitioners.

The simplicity of the layout of this book will appeal to student teachers as it is easy to follow and very accessible. It provides strategies and answers to the questions student teachers regularly ask, while avoiding over-complicating the issues. For me the practical approach balanced well with the pedagogical and theoretical issues without being too heavy. I will certainly be drawing upon this book as a good way of introducing discussion and debate concerning issues students might encounter during their teaching experience. The text is well designed to support student teachers and guide them in developing knowledge and understanding regarding classroom practice and the ‘art’ of teaching.

Kate Jones, University of East London

Cite as:
Review by (Kate Jones) (2012) ‘Learning and Teaching in Secondary Schools, 4th edition’ Research in Teacher Education, Vol 2 (No.1), 32–34. Available at: www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research in Teacher Education/Volume 2 No 1 April 2012

Edited by Viv Ellis
Exeter: Learning Matters, 2011
ISBN 978-0-85725-303-3
Reviewed by Kate Jones
Pages 32-34

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The main premise of this book is that, while leadership in schools is and has been an important and ongoing area of study, there has been little examination of the impact of leadership on learning and the resulting effect on raising student achievement. From my own perspective, previously as a deputy head of a secondary school and currently as a teacher-educator, most studies of leadership have been organisational, concerned with leadership structures. The editors, Robertson and Timperley, have attempted to redress this, with contributions from educationalists from the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the USA and Hong Kong.

My attention was soon attracted to the question posed on p. 3: ‘Leadership of who, for what?’ Borrowing from the work of Kenneth Leithwood and Doris Jantzi, the editors propose that, while leadership has consistent relationships with measures of school engagement, the relationships with student achievements are more equivocal, with effects that are perceived to be largely indirect.
The book is structured into three sections: ‘Exploring models of leadership’, ‘Challenges in developing learning-focused leadership’, and ‘Broadening ideas of learning and knowledge development’. Each section explores a theme: empowering relationships; patterns of leadership distribution; and leadership for the improvement of teaching and learning. One key strand which I think is appropriate to consider at this point is that of leadership distribution (p. 5), where ‘activities and interactions are distributed across multiple people and situations’ – in other words where leadership is shared. This prompted me to read again the discussion comparing two basic leadership styles: distributed leadership as opposed to delegated leadership (probably initially the most commonly used model). How do they differ? In the latter, the ‘heroic leader’ (p. 13) delegates responsibility, but not necessarily authority, to others, in a hierarchical manner. In the former, the distributed leader engages in discussion with other leaders (such as heads of department), who will take responsibility and authority for some aspect(s), and where all will have the ultimate goal of improving student achievement.

Two chapters seemed to me to be of most significance and indeed to be the pivot points of the book: chapter 4, which looks at ‘Leadership and student learning’ and focuses on what works and why, and chapter5 entitled ‘Leadership and student outcomes’. Well worth a look are the case studies, from different schools and countries, used to illustrate the arguments presented by the many contributors.
How would I rate the usefulness of this book? It is not an ‘easy reader’! While I would not necessarily expect most head teachers to have this on their bookshelf as it does not lend itself to lifting ideas easily, there is much well-researched and -presented material here, with key points to reflect on and discuss, that makes it an ideal reader for a module on leadership in master’s-level study.  

Tony Pye, University of East London

Cite as:
Review by (Tony Pye) (2012) ‘Leadership and Learning’ Research in Teacher Education, Vol 2 (No.1), 32–34. Available at: www.uel.ac.uk/rite/issues/volume2/1/bookreview/pp33/.

Edited by Jan Robertson and Helen Timperley
London: Sage, 2011
ISBN 9781849201742
Reviewed by Tony Pye
Pages 32-34

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What does it mean to learn and develop as a writer? What is a multimodal text? How is writing different in the age of the internet and mobile phone, particularly in relation to teaching, assessing and researching writing?

Drawing on UK and US research and case studies, Richard Andrews and Anna Smith set out to explore these questions and to develop a new model of writing development that is relevant for the digital age. This is a bold enterprise indeed and, although some chapters present complex arguments in their overview of existing research and theories (for example, those exploring distinctions between product-related and process-related models), the authors are largely successful in this aim.

Trainee teachers of English will find the simplified overview in chapter 1 of teaching-of-writing approaches since the 1950s particularly clear and informative, putting current debates in their historical context. There are also refreshing and thoughtful reformulations of the relationships between reading, writing, speaking and listening (for example, how do writing and speaking interact?).

English-teachers will no doubt welcome the second chapter which asserts ‘the tiredness of the text-based genre approach; exhaustion with targets and product-oriented assessment systems; a dis-connect between writing in the classroom and writing in the world at large, leading to a lack of motivation on the part of teachers and students; lack of professional development in writing for teachers’. These are key issues at a time when the Teachers as Writers movement is burgeoning, the National Curriculum is under review and the Expert Panel Report to the Government (DfE December 2011) states that ‘constant assessment to levels … obscures the genuine strengths and weaknesses in a pupil’s attainment … and weakens teachers’ clear understanding and identification of pupils’ specific weaknesses or misunderstandings’. Arguments about ‘notoriously linear and deficit-based’ notions of development are further developed in chapter 6 alongside issues of identity and motivation arising from the exploration of one US student’s writing practices.

For teachers and emerging writers, who are exploring the possibilities of multimodal and digital texts, chapter 7 (‘Writing within multimodality’) and chapter 8 (‘Writing in the digital age’) provide a mesmerising overview of just how much writing has changed in recent decades. The authors argue cogently that we need to go beyond a genre theory that sees genres as text-types rather than as social action and whose approach leads to fossilisation and enervation. These ideas are drawn together in chapter 10 which gives a comprehensive account of how new technologies relate to writing, of how we live in an era ‘marked by inventiveness and creative repurposing of text types and technology itself to create messages which function in complex ways’. This is exciting, inspirational stuff and in chapter 11 we are directly invited to examine our own teaching and writing practices. (So I am led to consider the processes that have led to the writing of this review: the handwritten notes on A4 paper; the manipulation of word-processed text; the cross-checking on www.uel.ac.uk/riste of reviews in previous issues of the publication you are now reading; my imagining of who might be reading this review; editing it down to around 600 words to fit the brief, etc.)

As befits a book about writing, Developing writers has a very clear structure: bold subheadings surrounded (perhaps self-consciously?) by plenty of white space, indicating each chapter’s introduction, main sections and conclusion. The writing style and layout make this an accessible text on a challenging topic. And as befits a book about writing in the digital age we are invited to continue the conversation at www.developingwriters.org. I have a feeling this book will become a key text for those wishing to reflect on their practice as teachers of writing or as teachers as writers.
John Wilks is this month’s guest reviewer and is General Secretary of the London Association for the Teaching of English and an Examiner for the English Speaking Board.

Contact: johngwilks@hotmail.com

Cite as:
Review by (John Wilks) (2012) ‘Developing Writers: Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age’ Research in Teacher Education, Vol 2 (No.1), 32–34. Available at: www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research in Teacher Education/Volume 2 No 1 April 2012

Richard Andrews and Anna Smith
Milton Keynes: Open University Press, 2011
ISBN 978-033524179-8
Reviewed by John Wilks
Pages 32-34

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